Sidney Lumet movies get Academy recognition: Honorary Oscar going to ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ & ‘Network’ director
Sidney Lumet, who began directing movies nearly half a century ago and whose credits include the classics 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, and The Verdict, will be the next recipient of the Honorary Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors has announced.
The award, in honor of the 80-year-old filmmaker’s “brilliant services to screenwriters, performers and the art of the motion picture,” will be presented at the 2005 Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 27.
Best Director Oscar nominations
Sidney Lumet’s first feature film, the courtroom drama 12 Angry Men, came out in 1957, earning him a Best Director Academy Award nomination. Henry Fonda starred as the (at first) sole jury member who believes the accused may be innocent.
Since then, Lumet has been shortlisted for three other Best Director Oscars:
- The biting social critique Dog Day Afternoon (1975), starring Al Pacino as a would-be (gay) bank robber.
- The anti-TV comedy-drama Network (1976), with Peter Finch as a news anchorman who threatens to kill himself on air.
- The feel-good courtroom drama The Verdict (1982), with Paul Newman as a down-on-his-luck attorney.
All four films also received Best Picture Oscar nominations.
Additionally, Sidney Lumet and co-screenwriter Jay Presson Allen (Cabaret) were shortlisted in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for Prince of the City (1981), a drama about police corruption starring Treat Williams.
More Sidney Lumet movies
Besides the titles mentioned above, Sidney Lumet movies include the following:
- Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962), an adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s dysfunctional family drama that earned leads Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, Dean Stockwell, and Jason Robards acting awards at the Cannes Film Festival.
- The first-rate A-bomb doomsday thriller Fail-Safe (1964), with Henry Fonda as an American president about to make what could be called a difficult decision.
- The independently made psychological drama The Pawnbroker (1965), with Rod Steiger as an embittered Nazi concentration camp survivor living in New York City.
- The Group (1966), a film version of Mary McCarthy’s acclaimed novel, featuring several up-and-coming actresses of the mid-1960s, among them Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett, Shirley Knight, Jessica Walter, Joanna Pettet, and Elizabeth Hartman.
- The unsuccessful The Appointment (1969), with Omar Sharif as a lawyer who – shades of Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour – believes that wife Anouk Aimée spends her nights working as a high-class prostitute.
- Serpico (1973), a well-received docudrama starring Al Pacino as a cop who denounces the all-pervasive rottenness inside the New York Police Department.
- The blockbuster Murder on the Orient Express (1974), with Albert Finney hamming it up as Agatha Christie’s Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot; veteran Richard Widmark as a vile business type, notorious criminal, and eventual corpse; and an all-star cast of suspects: Lauren Bacall, Wendy Hiller, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Perkins, Rachel Roberts, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Michael York, Sean Connery, and John Gielgud.
- The film version of Peter Shaffer’s stage hit Equus (1977), with Richard Burton as a psychiatrist and Peter Firth as his horse-fixated patient.
- The musical The Wiz (1978), a box office bomb featuring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, and Lena Horne in this all-black remake of The Wizard of Oz.
- The comedy-thriller Deathtrap (1982), in which intimate partners-in-crime Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve plot Dyan Cannon’s death.
- The comedy Garbo Talks (1984), with a terminally ill Anne Bancroft as an inveterate Greta Garbo fan.
- The surprisingly clumsy mystery thriller The Morning After (1986), a flop starring Jane Fonda and Jeff Bridges.
- The political/family drama Running on Empty (1988), with Christine Lahti, Judd Hirsch, and River Phoenix.
- The crime drama Guilty as Sin (1993), featuring Rebecca De Mornay and Don Johnson.
- Gloria (1999), a widely panned and little-seen remake of John Cassavetes’ 1980 hit. Sharon Stone stars as an ex-con who becomes the ferocious guardian of a boy (Jean-Luke Figueroa) targeted by a murderous gang.
Gloria is Sidney Lumet’s most recent release, though his latest courtroom drama, the real-life-inspired Find Me Guilty, is currently in post-production.
The film stars The Fast and the Furious actor Vin Diesel as a mobster defending himself at what turned out to be the longest mafia-related trial in U.S. history. Also in the cast: Linus Roache, Peter Dinklage, and Alex Rocco.
Sidney Lumet movies: Actors’ Oscar bonanza
Thus far, 18 performances in Sidney Lumet movies have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations, including four Oscar wins. Here are the nominees:
- Katharine Hepburn, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962).
- Rod Steiger, The Pawnbroker (1965).
- Al Pacino, Serpico (1973).
- Albert Finney, Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
- Al Pacino & Chris Sarandon, Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
- William Holden & Ned Beatty, Network (1976).
- Richard Burton & Peter Firth, Equus (1977).
- Paul Newman & James Mason, The Verdict (1982).
- Jane Fonda, The Morning After (1986).
- River Phoenix, Running on Empty (1988).
Note: Sarandon, Beatty, Firth, Mason, and Phoenix were shortlisted in the Best Supporting Actor category.
The two Sidney Lumet movies featuring winners in the Oscars’ acting categories are:
- Murder on the Orient Express (1974): Best Supporting Actress Ingrid Bergman.
- Network (1976): Best Actor Peter Finch, Best Actress Faye Dunaway, and Best Supporting Actress Beatrice Straight.
Howard Hughes & Harry Potter among Best Visual Effects Oscar semifinalists
From Sidney Lumet movies and the veteran filmmaker’s upcoming Honorary Oscar to the 2005 Best Visual Effects Academy Award: Below are the seven semifinalists in the Oscars’ VFX category:
- Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator.
- Roland Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow.
- Alfonso Cuarón’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- Alex Proyas’ I Robot.
- Brad Silberling’s Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- Kerry Conran’s Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
- Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2.
Only three of these films – featuring superheroes, climate change cataclysms, Harry Potter, and Howard Hughes – will receive a nomination.
Best Picture Oscar: Long list of eligible movies
In other Oscar 2005 news, no less than 267 films released this year are officially in the running for the Best Picture Academy Award.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules stipulate that to qualify for Oscar consideration in the Best Picture category, a film must have a running time of more than 40 minutes and must have been released theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format in a commercial theater, for paid admission, in Los Angeles County between Jan. 1–midnight Dec. 31, for seven consecutive days.
Oscar-nominated (very) late releases
Obviously, the “seven consecutive days” don’t have to be all in the same calendar year.
Here’s an example of an Oscar-nominated latecomer: Jim Sheridan’s In the Name of the Father opened on Dec. 29, 1993, and went on to receive seven nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), and Best Supporting Actress (Emma Thompson).
This year, a couple of potential Academy Award contenders – Niels Mueller’s The Assassination of Richard Nixon, starring Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Don Cheadle; and Paul Weitz’s In Good Company, starring Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Scarlett Johansson – opened on Dec. 29.
The 77th Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
The 2005 Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 27.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) website.
Image of Al Pacino in Sidney Lumet’s Serpico: Paramount Pictures.
Image of Best Visual Effects Academy Award semifinalist Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Paramount Pictures.
“Sidney Lumet Movies Recognized: Serpico & Network + Dog Day Afternoon Director Oscar Honor” last updated in May 2019.